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2013 Commencement Honorees Announced

April 30, 2013

The University of Rochester’s 163rd commencement ceremonies will recognize the outstanding contributions of distinguished leaders and scholars who will receive honorary degrees, Eastman and Hutchison Medals for exemplary service, and awards for scholarship and teaching. Ceremonies will be held on May 17, 18, and 19, with the Simon School of Business commencement on June 9.

2013 University Honorary Degrees

The Reverend Dr. James Alexander Forbes, Jr., The Harry Emerson Fosdick Distinguished Professor at Union Theological Seminary and president of the Healing of the Nations Foundation, will receive a doctor of divinity degree. Forbes is known as a “preacher’s preacher” because of his influential career and charismatic style. He was installed as the fifth senior minister of New York City’s Riverside Church in 1989, served until 2007, and was the first African-American to serve as minister of this multicultural congregation. Forbes earned a doctorate of ministry from Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, a master of divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary, and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Howard University. He earned his clinical pastoral education certificate from the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, Va., and is an ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches. Before being called to the pulpit, Forbes served as the Brown and Sockman Associate Professor of Preaching at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

Susan Hockfield ’73, the Marie Curie Visiting Professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and MIT’s 16th president from 2004 to 2012, will receive a doctor of science degree. Hockfield has distinguished herself in a career that has spanned groundbreaking neuroscience research and the presidency of one of the world’s premier institutions of science and engineering. After earning a bachelor’s degree in biology from Rochester and a doctorate from Georgetown University’s School of Medicine, Hockfield held a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellowship, served on the scientific staff at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and joined the faculty of Yale University, where she was later named the William Edward Gilbert Professor of Neurobiology and served as dean of its Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, then as provost. Hockfield’s discovery of a specific gene and related proteins that influence the movement of cancer cells in the brain has opened new avenues for the treatment of glioma. She was the first female and first life scientist to lead MIT. Among her accomplishments as president, Hockfield spearheaded MITEI, a $359 million effort to accelerate research, policy, and education to achieve a clean energy future.

Jie Zhang, president of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, will receive a doctor of science degree. Zhang, a renowned physicist, took office as president in 2006. His ethos of pursuing knowledge and respecting scholars has brought vitality, creativity, and passion to the university. In his research, Zhang has focused on high-field physics and X-ray lasers, especially the physical process of high-energy density under extreme conditions similar to those in the core of the sun, which is important in the search for alternative energy sources. Zhang received his Ph.D. in optical and atomic and molecular physics from the Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in 1988. He then spent 10 years at the University of Oxford, carrying out research on X-ray lasers and laser-plasma physics. He served at CAS as deputy director of the Institute of Physics (1998-2003), director general of the Bureau of Basic Sciences (2003-2006), and director of laboratory of Optical Physics (2003-2009).

At the Simon School’s June 9 ceremony, Lawrence Kudlow ’69, host of CNBC’s The Kudlow Report, will receive a doctor of laws degree. Kudlow is a nationally syndicated columnist and contributing editor of National Review magazine, and columnist and economics editor forNational Review Online. He is the author of American Abundance: The New Economic and Moral Prosperity. He is also the radio host of the nationally-syndicated The Larry Kudlow Show. During President Reagan’s first term, Kudlow was the associate director for economics and planning in the Office of Management and Budget. He is currently CEO of Kudlow & Co., LLC, an economic research firm. He was formerly chief economist and senior managing director of Bear Stearns & Company. Kudlow was educated at the University of Rochester and Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Eastman Medal

The Eastman Medal recognizes outstanding achievement and dedicated service in honor of the University’s great benefactor and the founder of Eastman Kodak Company.

Physics Nobel laureate Steven Chu ’70 will deliver the University’s 2013 Commencement keynote address and receive the Eastman Medal. Chu recently completed four years as U.S. secretary of energy. During his tenure, the Department of Energy began the ARPA-E program to nurture high-risk, high-reward energy technologies; Energy Innovation Hubs, which combine basic and applied research with engineering to accelerate scientific discovery in critical energy issue areas; and the Clean Energy Ministerial, a high-level global forum to promote the transition to a global clean energy economy. Chu also helped double the deployment of renewable energy in the United States. A member of the University’s Board of Trustees from 1999 to 2009, Chu earned bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and in physics from the University in 1970, and his doctorate in physics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1976. He is the recipient of 23 honorary degrees, including an honorary doctor of science from Rochester in 1998.

The Eastman Medal also will be presented to Harold and Joan Feinbloom, longtime Rochester residents who have been deeply involved in combating the effects of poverty and in supporting arts, education, community health, and religious causes. They believe in being directly involved in the organizations they support, and have been steadfast supporters of the University of Rochester. For more than 40 years, Joan Feinbloom has served as a Memorial Art Gallery docent. She joined the Gallery Council in 1989, and serves on the Steering Committee for the Gallery’s campaign, “Gateways to Art.”She also serves on the board of the Medical Center and has served on many other local boards. For many years, Harold Feinbloom led the family-owned clothing firm Champion Products. Passionate about cancer research, Harold Feinbloom served on the Wilmot Cancer Center board from 2004 to 2010, and as a member of the campaign steering committee member helped raise $42.5 million to build the new center. The Feinblooms have been recognized by several organizations for their outstanding service and philanthropy, including the 2001 Rochester Rotary Award, this community’s oldest and most prestigious civic award.

Charles Force Hutchison and Marjorie Smith Hutchison Medal

The Charles Force Hutchison and Marjorie Smith Hutchison Medal recognizes alumni for outstanding achievement and notable service.

Edward D. Miller ’68 (M.D.) joined The Johns Hopkins University in 1994 as professor and director of the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, and was named interim dean of the School of Medicine in 1996. He became the first CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, the 13th dean of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and vice president for medicine of The Johns Hopkins University in January 1997, serving until his retirement in 2012. Under Miller’s leadership, Johns Hopkins Medicine broadened its relationships with hospitals and other health care-related entities nationally and abroad. He oversaw the massive rebuilding that transformed the East Baltimore medical campus, including two new state-of-the-art hospitals for adult and pediatric patients. As an anesthesiologist, Miller’s research focused on the cardiovascular effects of anesthetic drugs and vascular smooth muscle relaxation. He received his bachelor’s degree from Ohio Wesleyan University and his medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. The contributions of civic leaderNorman P. Leenhouts ’56 have had a far-reaching impact on the University of Rochester and local community. He is now chairman of Broadstone Real Estate, which manages two real estate investment trusts, Broadstone Net Lease and Broadtree Homes thathe founded with his daughter, Amy Tait. Along with his twin brother, Nelson Leenhouts, Norman Leenhouts is also co-founder and former co-CEO of Home Leasing, later Home Properties Inc. The Leenhouts brothers have been involved in such notable area projects as Clinton Square, Blue Heron Country Club, Northgate Shopping Center, Southview Commons, and medical buildings at Park Ridge and Rochester General hospitals. Norman Leenhouts was inducted into the Rochester Business Hall of Fame in 2002. Leenhouts served two terms as a University Trustee and is now a Life Trustee. He served on the School of Medicine and Dentistry Trustee Visiting Committee and has become deeply involved with the Department of Neurosurgery and the Del Monte Institute. He serves as co-chair for the Neuromedicine Campaign at the Medical Center.

Rochester Distinguished Scholar Award

The Rochester Distinguished Scholar Award recognizes alumni whose careers in academia, industry, government or the arts have exemplified the values and attributes of the University.

John Aldrich ’75 (Ph.D.) is a leading scholar of American political behavior and institutions and has made major contributions in the areas of voting behavior, legislative politics, and most notably the study of political parties. Aldrich is widely known for his book Why Parties?, now in its second edition. He has developed theories drawn from political psychology and uses historical, experimental, and quantitative and statistical methods to test them. After earning his Ph.D. at Rochester, Aldrich joined the faculty at Michigan State University, where he taught until 1981. He spent the next six years on the faculty at the University of Minnesota, and in 1987 moved to Duke University, where he is currently Pfizer-Pratt University Professor. His scholarly work has received the American Political Science Association’s Gladys Kammerer Award, the Heinz Eulau Award, the CQ Press Award, and the Pi Sigma Alpha Award.

University Teaching Awards for Excellence

During nearly a quarter century of teaching graduate students at the Institute of Optics, Govind P. Agrawal, professor of optics and physics, and Laboratory for Laser Energetics senior scientist, has left an indelible mark. His former students refer to him as the father of their successful careers. They acclaim him as a model scientist, supervisor and leader, and as a supportive and inspirational mentor. Agrawal has made exceptional contributions to graduate instruction and advising, especially in the doctoral program at the Institute, and he is author or co-author of more than 400 research papers and eight books, including Fiber-Optic Communication Systems and Nonlinear Fiber Optics, both of which are used worldwide for graduate teaching. Agrawal is being honored with the William H. Riker University Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching.

Miguel A. Alonso ’96 (Ph.D.), associate professor of optics, is regarded as a brilliant yet down-to-earth teacher, as well as gifted researcher who can make connections between pure mathematics and real-world applications with clarity and humor. Students marvel at his ability to enter a classroom with just chalk and a mug of coffee, and promptly paint the board with the foundations of multi-dimensional vector calculus. Friendly and approachable, Alonso takes time to patiently answer students’ questions. His concern for students extends beyond the classroom—he is involved with professional societies for underrepresented minorities and in “Optics Outreach” programs for Rochester’s underprivileged public school students. Alonso is being honored with the Edward Peck Curtis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.

Richard Aslin, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, has an exemplary record as a mentor and teacher. Aslin, who also is director of the Rochester Center for Brain Imaging and a member of the Center for Visual Science, has mentored or co-mentored 10 doctoral candidates since 1996, seven of whom are now faculty members at major research universities. Aslin, whose research examines behavioral and neural development in infants and young children, has been at the forefront of understanding the development of cognitive abilities in babies, particularly in two key areas: visual perception and language. In Aslin’s theory of statistical learning, how babies learn is very much related to the statistics of their environment, or in other words the probability that something will or will not happen. Aslin is being honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award in Graduate Education.

Dahpon Ho, assistant professor of history, is a specialist in East Asian history who brings extraordinary creativity, passion, and rigor to the classroom. Students are grateful for the way his courses transform their views of East Asian societies and develop their capacity to see history from different perspectives. Ho’s colleagues know him as a skilled teacher who can seamlessly integrate an array of audiovisual materials, pedagogical methods, and historical perspectives in his lessons. They consider him a major contributor to the department’s undergraduate curriculum and a gifted mentor for graduate students. Ho is being honored with the G. Graydon ’58 and Jane W. Curtis Award for Non-tenured Faculty Teaching Excellence.

Additional information about University commencement ceremonies and related activities is available at

For more information on the Simon School’s Commencement,

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